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Cuba Says Nationwide Blackouts to End by Saturday

FILE - A disabled man in a wheelchair is evacuated by paramedics during a blackout in Havana, Cuba, Jan. 23, 2017.

Cuba's energy minister says breakdowns in the country's power plants have caused a string of blackouts across the country this week, and he promises the problem will be solved by Saturday.

Minster of Energy and Mining Raul Garcia Barreiro told state media Tuesday night that a series of blackouts in cities and towns throughout Cuba was due to mechanical problems in three power plants as two others were down for maintenance.

The statement came after days of official silence in response to reports on Twitter from Cubans experiencing power cuts. Dozens of users reported the times, duration and locations of blackouts, in a dramatic example of the government's broken monopoly on information in the face of increased access to mobile internet, which came into wide use this year.